Plane crash in Kazakhstan leaves at least 15 dead

At least 15 people have died after a Bek Air plane with almost 100 people on board crashed near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Friday shortly after taking off.

The Fokker 100 aircraft, heading for the capital, Nur-Sultan, on a pre-dawn flight, “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence” before hitting a two-storey building, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said in a statement.

In a statement posted on social media, Almaty International Airport also said 22 people suffered severe injuries and were taken to two hospitals.

A survivor told News website Tengrinews she heard a “terrifying sound” before the plane started losing altitude.

“The plane was flying with a tilt. Everything was like in a movie: screaming, shouting, people crying,” she said.

Images posted on social media showed several rescue personnel digging through the wreckage of the Bek Air aircraft.

A special commission is investigating the circumstances leading to the deadly incident, airport officials said.

The crash site in Almerek village – just beyond the end of the runway – has been cordoned off. 

In a statement published on social media, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his condolences to the friends and families of those killed in the crash.

“All those injured will be rendered assistance. All those responsible will carry severe punishment in accordance with the law,” Kaz Inform news agency quoted the president as saying in the Kazakh language.

The company manufacturing the aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production of the Fokker-100 stopped the following year.

All Bek Air and Fokker 100 flights in Kazakhstan have been suspended pending the investigation of the crash, the country’s authorities said.

An aircraft crashed near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Friday shortly after taking off, killing at least 15 people, authorities in the Central Asian country said.

The Bek Air Fokker 100 aircraft, with 93 passengers and five crew members, was heading for the capital Nur-Sultan on a pre-dawn flight but “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence”, before hitting a two-storey building, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said.

A survivor told news website Tengrinews she heard a “terrifying sound” before the plane started losing altitude.

“The plane was flying with a tilt. Everything was like in a movie: screaming, shouting, people crying,” she said.

A Reuters reporter travelling to the airport soon after the crash said there was thick fog in the area.

Authorities have not suggested any possible cause of the crash. The aviation committee said it was suspending all flights by carrier Bek Air and those of Fokker 100 aircraft pending an investigation.

Bek Air, which operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets, said in a statement it was awaiting official information from the investigators working at the crash site.

Another survivor, businessman Aslan Nazaraliyev, told the Vremya newspaper the plane started shaking while gaining altitude about two minutes after takeoff.

“At some point we started falling, not vertically, but at an angle. It seemed like control over the plane was lost,” he said.

Reuters . 27.12.2019

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